You think you’re alone out on the range
Sittin’ silent under starry sky,
Just a marvelin’ at the universe
And wonderin’ ‘bout that ol’ question: why?
You shake your head at worlds of worry,
Knowin’ it ain’t often that you’ll find,
All the answers to your queries
Beneath the clear black sky and pine.
You wonder if we rose up from mud
And walked straight and tall upon this earth—
Or was it all created in a moment—
A conception that gave us true birth.
Are we all no more than those monkeys
Evolvin’ slowly down life’s long line?
Or is there more to earth and heaven
Touched by something truly sublime?
We keep on punchin’ clocks and cattle
And tryin’ to get through each new morn—
But is there more to life than dyin’
And will we somehow be reborn?
All the cattle know my hard proddin’
As I lead them along time’s sad way—
We live for but a flashin’ moment,
As we watch life go by in one short day.
So make the best of trails you ride, cowboy—
Each tomorrow is both yours and mine—
And gaze long at stars in that vast sky
Placed there by intelligent design.
Those condo cowboys are clingin’ to things that used to be,
Starin’ out those city windows or sittin’ on balconies.
They can still smell the country, the ranch, the horses and the range—
At times they wear cowboy hats, though folks might think them strange.
And like those cowboys long ago, they’re roamin’ in their soul,
From Nevada, Arizona and old Colorado.
They’ve seen and done so many things that most can only dream,
Yet still they have the urge to cross one more mountain stream.
But now they’re just old cowboys, that’s all that they want to be,
They seek no big fortune, high status or fine pedigree.
They see the world too clearly, seldom hold or mince their speech,
They live the cowboy code and keep life’s truth within their reach.
Those condo cowboys are special, each one from a unique mold,
They just keep on ridin’ life’s long trail and never do grow old.
Wearing Daddy's boots & cowboy hat & not much in between
Why, Momma, ain't she just about the prettiest baby you've ever seen?
I'm sure wishing she was talking, reading her mind is quite a trick
And she's sure getting awful heavy, I hope she's walking quick
Whoa there, sassy, Momma look at her running wild
Why I am not sure there ever was a more rambunctious child
Life sure was a picnic when we could just bundle her up & go
Now I get tuckered just watching her, she's a pint size dynamo
Waist length braids, a gap tooth grin & freckled face
That's our girl, Momma, her calf just took first place
How old is she now, six? No, she can't possibly be eight
Seems she is growing up faster than I'd anticipate
Well I'll be, look at her standing on the stairs
in a fancy gown, heels & make up putting on womanly airs
this young girl looking back at me, yesterday she was only seven
Now there's a young buck staring at her like he's just seen heaven
Wearing a cap & gown, her diploma held high
Look, Momma, there's our girl, getting ready to give her wings a try
Wasn't it just yesterday she was afraid of the monsters under the bed?
Now she's off to college, her own path to tread
Wearing Grandma's pearls & a gown of antique white
Now, Momma, don't start fussing, everything will be all right
Wasn't it just yesterday, I was wishing she was talking?
Now the music is playing & down the aisle we're walking
Wearing Grandpa's boots & cowboy hat & nothing in between
Why Grandma ain't that the prettiest grandbaby you've ever seen?
Now listen, Sassy, don't go wishing for her to grow up so fast
Treasure each & every moment, create a memory to last
Be mindful of what you wish for when your babes are small
For in just the blink of an eye, they won't be small at all
You dream of turning back the clock & know you never will
For time flies, just as surely as you wish it would stand still
A thousand times I have heard,
“There but for the Grace of God...”
but until today that phrase,
struck me as somewhat odd.
The old Cowboy who staggered by,
was three sheets to the wind.
but he swept off his hat before me,
and at the waist did bend.
“Fair Lady, how goes your day?”,
he asked as he deeply bowed,
his face was flush, but his manner gentile,
and he spoke clearly, though not loud.
The politeness of his question,
had completely caught me off guard.
I looked into his wind-burned face,
and saw a look that was not hard.
“My day goes well, and thank you sir.”
was my own courteous reply.
As I gave a small curtsy and a smile,
I saw a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh surely, Lovely Lady,
you have truly made my day.”
He put on his hat, caught his bearings,
and sauntered on his way.
No one else along the street,
looked directly at him or spoke.
Some looked away, while others laughed,
and and made him the point of their joke.
I alone had been blessed,
only I knew what lay inside,
for it had been revealed to me,
what rumpled clothes and liquor hide.
I had seen a gentleman,
a Cowboy tried and true,
with manners most becoming,
a Real Man, through and through.
I was allowed to look past the fact,
that he was poorly dressed and shod,
I had seen the inside of a Heart,
and the Grace placed there by God.
In crackled tintypes bent with long ago,
Amid flaxen sunset and skies of cherry—
In worn leather-carved ancient scenario,
He dare not lie in milkweed prairie.
He rides resolute toward that sweat-tinged fame,
Always the heart’s hero of our once young eye,
As pale ivory range sighs softly his name
And we all know the real reason why.
It is high sage country that he will ride,
As that tin sun burns alabaster away—
And new birthed rains roll off his cow rancher hide,
So his soft summer’s mirage will stay.
Some see him crude – of but limited worth—
Lacking pure knowledge or certain savoir-faire—
But born of bone plain, he is of no fool’s birth—
A force of nature that’s always there.
From coat’s patina past years slide, of course,
As lines are spurred so deep into his Sphinx face—
But he’d rather be poised high atop his horse
In no other country, time or place.
His heritage is long – it’s here he’ll die—
He rides his own land in cruel spring rains and snows—
And like that wax jacket, he’ll keep his hopes dry,
Because ranching is all that he knows.
My roots run deep & strong here in this place you curse & scorn
I couldn’t think of a better place than here to have been born
you say this is a dead end town, where dreams whither & die
I know this town has nurtured my dreams, seen them soar & fly
You say the cowboy has left & gone, run off by urban sprawl
Yet every morning, I still hear the young calves bawl
you talk of crime run amok & people no one can trust
I choose my friends carefully & fight for the right & the just
You say this is no place to raise a child, that they’ll not learn respect
but its our job to raise them up, their course in life direct
You say that no one gives a damn about another’s plight
but I have seen this town come together to turn a wrong to right
You say this town holds you back & you will never gain success
I can feel her sing my praises as I aim to do my best
I will stay here in this valley & no matter where I roam
I know my roots run deep here & I will always come back home
Pack your bags & go on down the road in search of better grazing
One day you will come full circle & return here to your raising
For your roots run deep here too, though you may curse & shout
and roots, home & belonging are what life is all about
© October 2003
No one knows where the longhorn goes,
When his breed is scattered and few—
He once was king of the cattle ring,
But his time in this world is through.
We all must go where longhorns go,
When the bone moon falls from the sky—
We will not hide when we ride no more
And the longhorn goes off to die.
Our land must be where longhorns live—
Where we all seek our destiny—
This once was land still full of sand
With longhorns far as you could see.
We all must dream what cowboys dreamt
When they looked out upon the West—
We all should lead the life we need
As we follow the trail that’s best.
We all must go where longhorns grazed
On a ride through the green grass sea—
We all must lead and protect our creed—
But most of all, we should be free.
The path is hard, but we will climb
Up that hill where the longhorn goes—
Though the trail is long, it is not wrong,
When we know what the longhorn knows.
a cowboy has dreams
of sleeping under the stars
of deserts that bloom
Watch those buckaroos lose their insides when saddled to a wild one untied it’s fer a sight when they ride . Yiddy –up was the wail when a bull of a devil left his trail some kinda fight on the road to hell.
No wonder I headed for Whiskey Row with some forty drinks down below sure is thunder in your hole will rock your soul as you face the mighty cold.
Strums my guitar and softly singing as the cowboys are around the camp fire ringing as the fire is blazinin another day is hazing. Got the notion for prayin as another cowboy was payin and he was sayin
Lord ya know the deeds I’ve done and in the shadows I have hung I just wanted to be thankful for meeting me on this fateful day and in thy range I will forever stay.
The summer sun was high. The heat was oppressive.
A whalebone corset dug into my body's tender parts.
Peering from the shop, my hand touches the pane
of dearly brought glass it vibrates with the hoof-beat of riders.
The weak, blue-sky pales, clouding over with the dust.
Children playing hoop, let it drop with an unheard clatter.
Inside Fort Laramie’s provisioner, Mrs. Dreary's dropped-plate clatters.
Outside, a thunder of hoofs race pell-mell through heat, oppressive.
“Indians!” Children run through the street's miasma of dust.
Folks in wagons and on horseback flee for other parts.
“Sioux,” I nod. Gunshots ring through the air savaging the riders.
The shopkeeper’s wife babe in arms runs up the stairs, baby screams in pain.
Arrow flights buzz by shattering the shop's window panes.
The Indians leap from horse back to tile roof raising a clatter.
Mr. Dreary reaches for his Sharp shooter and aims at the riders.
A cat’s eye marble falls from the toy display, a mundane oppression.
Dreary slams shut the door, shards of glass scatter, bullet parted.
“Mame, git away from that window! Gener’l Connor’ll kill me if y’ur dusted.”
My eyes, now black and hollow as a barn owl's, tear, full of dust.
“Damn heathens,” Mr. Dreary cusses as bullets fly through broken panes.
He pulls me behind him and opens the useless glass door. “Thop” an arrow parts
his scalp. He falls back, landing beside me,his spurs clattering.
The baby screams again. I turn to see Mrs. Dreary's oppressive
grip on the child. “He’s dead.” She says grabs the Sharp and kills the next rider.
The soldiers finally arrive and chase the mongrel band of riders.
Mrs. Dreary, babe in one arm, Sharp in the other, kicks the marble in the dust.
She walks through the door, out of one carnage into another type of oppression,
the soldiers are executing the Sioux braves. Children watch in pain.
Across the street a lone warrior perches. A roof tile clatters
to the dirt. His arrow flies and a soul is parted.
Falling with blind numbness, forward, down, parting
the water in the horse trough left for the riders.
My brass buttons and flint arrowhead scrape the tub clattering,
no one in the street notices my departing in the day's dust.
My open mouth fills with bile and the rancid taste of pain.
“How improper,” was my last lucid thought, truly oppressive.
A clatter of hoofs rocks my parting.
The oppression, of man against man leaves, with the riders.
Only dust and the pain of the living remain.
Magazine ads and newspaper obituaries
skitter across the streets
like tumbleweed in the desert.
Rims the size of carriage wheels roll by.
Everyone's holsters are filled,
even the children carry pistols.
The schools are ghost towns
but the saloons stay occupied.
This is the Wild, Wild West.
The wren hour drool within that
very day, When we were taken
on a forage trip, Beyond the
karfanchan dangling viaduct, In
our own vertigo, And was coll by
the alien sun of a day,
We passed-by, As enamor was
with her, Many was about, I
choose aftermath, As for aeon of
a time, Yes it was such a
wonderful voyeur, Had wish it
lingers us far too off, I puff
vrouw through my wife beak
nose, Their ears, eyes stand-out
like Coco-yam leaf, whilst her
frescata inhold my once
beholden self , Some whisker
pups prance across My vrouw,
Wanton in their
Omnishamblings, like a dumb
duck, Meanwhile like sorts of the
sky high, Behind their mounting
shack, And her scamps out
wrung the furthest spot, As we
bore off a bit pointing yet, Felt
we are on the hoof side.
Ben raised up a dern disappointment, Daddy, well, he wanted a boy.
Wasn’t nothing under the bleeding red sun Ma could do but keep on a tryin’
Ya’siree, she was one branded filly and dern iffin that filly didn’t birth a maverick.
Daddy, well he had him some hard times a com’n
and he didn’t ev’n try to hide his fallen face when Sis was born.
that un, well, she was maverick number two!
Daddy was the devil may care sort and him and his seed strayed far afield,
sowing his wild oats, praying for an heir, he himself was one
‘slick hairy dick’ so to speak [that’s cowboy lingo for a maverick himself]
and you know what they say, “The cow plop don’t fall far from its arse”
He kept on pokin’ Ma ‘till he got that boy, all nine caterwauling pounds!
Dynasty founded, one hell of a shindig was thrown, as luck would have it,
Dad strayed, but not before he taught his gal’s not to take guff from any man!
Out on the range, Dad rounded up a couple more Betty’s
“Yehaw, did that brand sizzle” got his self a couple more bucko’s
for the dynasty and another sweet filly, all of them mavericks to the core.
Funny thing is old Dad’s gal’s got more balls then most men.
So, I guess in the end [wink] he taught us well!
*This is a Cowboy Poem, it is a maverick to it's form because
Cowboy poetry is rhymed, metered verse written by someone who has lived a significant portion of his or her life in Western North American cattle culture. The verse reflects an intimate knowledge of that way of life, and the community.
[Never lived in the West, don't like anything that looks at me with one eye!
"...names have been changed to protect the innocent."
P.S. I'm the maverick!
Tears - Are As Old
… As East Of Eden
Pain - Is As Old
… As East Of Eden
Woes - Are As Old
… As East Of Eden …
That’s Why The Cowboy … Rides West
And Disappears, Into The Flaming Sunsets … ( Gen. 3: 23, 24 )
As his rider gives the judge a glance,
He tosses his mane and shifts his stance;
The winner he is, without a doubt,
He trots in place and then moves out;
Not quite believing what I saw,
I watched in silence, struck in awe;
Almost as if he wants to tease;
He crosses over with seaming ease,
His perfect cadence and fluid prance;
I sat in wonder as I watched him dance.
~Write A Backwards Poem Contest~
If I seem down
Frowns I carry around
live in me
When I break
you see right through me
GIVE BACK THE SOUL I SOLD...
The hurt I’ve learned
brews in me
GIVE BACK THE SOUL I SOLD...
Your words so true
If only you'd re-design me
Recreate the mold
without lies I’ve told...
GIVE BACK THE SOUL I SOLD...
The hurt I’ve learned
brews in me
GIVE BACK THE SOUL I SOLD....
He must sit back and just smile at sunsets;
The colors and quiet must give him great joy—
As do the sweet sage and morning violets;
God must be a cowboy.
He breathes life in the wind on the prairie
And sustains the green earth with the soft rain;
And he grows all the fish in the vast sea;
It is an unbroken chain.
Oh, you can hear him creak that old saddle
As he rounds up the skies and the whole earth range;
His eyes are on us and he’s not idle.
The only constant is change.
Yes, He rides beside us in gold grasses
And He watches our bedroll every night;
He helps us over all the high passes
And teaches us to do right.
And meekly we speak of Him by His name
As we take great pains to please and not annoy;
Knowing when we ride off back where we came:
God must be a cowboy.
When there are no words
There is the silence
Time for listening
Hear the breeze
Restore the soul
When there are no words
The sky and land mingle in each others reflections.
We’re old now sitting around these lights, musing.
Chewing on past participles before spitting them into the fire.
Sparks fly, we smile, remembering. Saying, “Yeah, that was good.”
Try another, we laugh. More admiration than envy.
Like the dualism of dusk and dawn, we coexist.
Durable sentiments abound in our words, romanticists.
Who would have thought. Mysteries can wait as we hash out these tenses.
Water has always mirrored the land and sky and I am considering now,
The abyss is beyond the constellations, more of a grand backdrop for stars.
We’ve skimmed the surface, disrupting shadows with illuminations.
Words spoken, recognition I have pondered.
Another log on the fire please, I have more to think about.
Has America’s spirit strayed off the trail?
Have we found what’s in every canyon
Or have we failed?
Will we let the bad guys win and try no more?
See Lady Liberty as something
To just deplore?
Have we seen the elephant grow soft and weak
As the donkey only sits and brays,
But does not speak
Or see the wild anger in our horse’s eyes
As they promise us those gold cities
And tell more lies.
America has strayed too far off the trail—
We wait a great judgment from the West
Cloaked in black veil.
A Rose in full bloom,
such a beautiful sight to see.
In mornin' first dewy light,
lettin' it's pedals free.
Something to admire,
Only from a distance.
On the back of a good horse,
across a fence.
My life has been romanced,
and turned to some fantasy.
But the cowboy life is mine,
the dreams of it are for those in the city.
For bronc's can be flat mean,
and the dusty breeze is hot.
and if an ol' ladino gets a holt of ya,
you appreciate what you got.
But a mountain mornin'
can make a heart turn glad.
and get ya to thinkin'
of all you had.
With so much and so little,
beauty is ones life.
A cowboy has to stop and gaze,
just for a moment and a half.
So this ol' tumbleweed gets movin'
when the wind blows.
Takin' me away from,
from the garden of Rose.
Funny Story and unfortunately true. When I was in Prison at Pelican Bay State prison in Crescent City, Ca., one of the ways I made money or "cantene" as it was called was poetry of sorts.. I was more or less the hallmark kinda person. Writing stuff for anyone that asked and especially when they paid. I was asked to write a poem about having a pocket full of rocks. I had made the mistake of boasting that I could come up with something at least with a beginning, middle and end about anything.....anything ..........You read this and you will see how wrong I was.....or was I?
"Pocket Full of Rocks"
I had a brand new pick up truck.
A big wide screen T.V.
A house up on the hillside
beneath the shade of and old Oak Tree.
I once wore some fancy clothes.
All around the world I'd roam.
Now all I've got is what you see.
Flat broke and all alone.
I was known at every bank in town.
Had more cash than I thought I'd spend.
Both A Master Card and Visa
whose limits had no end.
I had women everywhere I turned.
More love than you could know.
Then I went and blew it all.
Where did it all go?
Now with patches on my blue jeans
and holes in both my socks,
I've a head thats full of empty dreams
and a pocket full of rocks.
No..I don't have a dog gone thing.
No car! No clothes! No house.
Hell even my best friend is gone.
Ran off with what was my spouse.
Yet I'm still fairly happy.
I can't dwell on what I had.
Cause' if I did; believe you me.
I'd be to Gaw Durn sad!
They were talking about drugs. I did not know they were talking about a drug. So you can imagine all the crap I got on this one. .... Prison sucked. I deserved to be there. (I never hurt anyone, stole or terrorized anyone) This was a very lighthearted moment in a time of my life that was anything but pleasant.
*I had no idea I was being so prophetic.........For Someone?
Gently moves the melody of the range,
Lost in an ambrotype that does not change.
Each twist of the trail still brings us all here
Never to leave now but always to fear
No god of our own making or dark dreams—
Earth-bound we ride toward Gomorrah it seems.
New range is waiting – it’s just up ahead—
Let’s spur on harder before we are dead.
Oh, the time for riding now is not long—
Every man sings, but few know the song.
Oh, the leaves are liquid yellow
As we ride on through Custer Park,
In search of that old Badger Hole:
Home of the poet Badger Clark.
Yes, we come to step back in time—
It’s a historic rule of thumb—
Where the city does not crowd you,
And man can be scattered some.
The old cabin now sits empty—
A last poetic monument—
Proving that words can still live on
Where men have lived and come and went.
our skills..talents..gifts,that we have..
these are our tools..weapons..instruments
and we just want to live..
put into a situation in wich we did not choose our roles..
some of us are the fans and the royalty
they watch people like me do what needs to be done...
people like me..we just want to live
so we use our weapons and do what we have to..
we didnt choose for it to be like this..
we watch the fortunate crowd the seats of this coliseum called life..
and they watch us jump back and forth through shades of color..
they judge us...
but we just want to live
I do not know?
Screaming silently for that one breath
that whirling maelstrom of beaten-down loss upon wrap-around defeat
that mercilessly shovels heaps of leaden rubble as you try to get back on your feet
mute and dumbly flailing in the raging torrent
but a mere speck of dirt on the tapestry of a world, that at times, is quite abhorrent
quietly wishing to surrender to the nothingness that seductively beckons, as you gasp
hoping against all hope that a lifeline would appear suddenly within your grasp
yet caught in the ghastly waters of unchartered isolation
a trickle of hope amidst the gushing liquid of sheer desolation
whilst holding on to slivers of sanity when blistering madness calls out to you
faltering weaknesses snap and gnaw at your state of being, out of the pristine clear blue
i have felt the pull of life's devious current as it has stripped me of my self and left me naked and bare
i fight with every suffocating breath left within
to surface and to cling onto
another gulp of life's coarse and putrid air...
comatose commas thought April too lenient;
birth was postponed until June,
provided preference for instant coffee
or selfless gratification,
minus the flack fouled narcolepsy,
however insistent …
as cardboard mansions collapsed under oath,
if under cardiac-arrest,
below if not adjacent to, the end,
regardless of means…
Though you slipped
from this earth
so long ago
nigh on twenty years
I still feel you
here beside me
Hear your voice
within my soul
As I walk
behind the back chutes
at the Sonoita Rodeo
your ghost elusive
I guess it's true
what the old ones say
about gone but
For You're still here
in heart & spirit
every melody & tune
I dance in memory
(c) September 2002
A handshake speaks volumes, keep it firm & strong
Learn from your mistakes & admit when you're wrong
Stand your ground when you know you're right
Never drop your guard or waver in a fight
Never give up & put your best in all you do
Follow your heart & to yourself stay true
May every word match every deed
Always lend a hand to those in need
Things turn out better when you take time to pray
A light heart & hard work keep the storm clouds at bay
Hold your friends close for each is a treasure
In your family, look always for solace & pleasure
A light touch on the reins is only half the battle
Make sure you set deep & tall in the saddle
Treat horse & man with equal respect
When asked for advice, be kind but direct
There's a bright side to even the darkest day
You'll gain more from life if a smile leads the way
A true friend is one who cannot be bought
These are a few of the lessons I've been taught
By those who have guided me throughout my life
My wellspring of wisdom to rely on in times of strife
© December 2003
in a word,
in a moment,
without reason or hope,
saline through time…